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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Surprise Party Planners with a Death Wish

Published: October 7, 2005
Section: Opinions

Have you ever successfully organized a surprise birthday party? I mean single-handedly cooking a huge lunch and hosting 25 people, sleeping three hours a night and using public transportation to get into another city just to find kosher chicken, all while keeping everything entirely secret and completely lying about where youve been the past three days, all for someone you couldnt possibly care any less about? If you have, then you are an extremely talented, clandestine, and hardworking nitwit who should immediately be:
1) Hired by the CIA, since you are obviously the take-no-prisoners-cloak-and-dagger if-I-tell-you-Ill-have-to-kill-your-dog-youre-on-a-need-to-know-basis-shifty-eyed chum theyre looking for,
2) Placed in an emergency drug rehabilitation program, as you are most likely a PCP addict experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms,
3) Placed on suicide watch, for you definitely have a morbid death wish,
4) And be committed. You are a danger to society.

And if youve done all this for someone you care a lot about, then you are still a drug-crazed nitwit with a death wish that should be committed and hired by the CIA, but at least youre getting something very important out of it. Exactly what, Im not so sure.

In case any of you are wondering, yes, I am one of those drug-crazed nitwits with a death wish. I have planned a surprise party, come out on the other side, and I am now able to report to you, my fellow readers, that to do it successfully is absolutely impossible, at least as long as you are only willing to use legal means to achieve your goal. The only surefire way to go about planning a surprise party while ensuring its unhindered success is to lock the person you are planning it for in her room for three straight days while making sure to completely cut her off from all contact with the outside world.

Take this seriously folks. Cutting her off means nothing less than unplugging her phone, destroying her computer, dunking her cell phone in hydrochloric acid, boarding up her windows and setting up a half-mile 100,000-volt fence perimeter around her room. Then, and only then can you get to work, letting her out only when youre completely done and ready to take her to the place and moment of surprise while not forgetting the most important thing, which is making absolutely certain that on her way there she is completely unconscious to ensure that she is not able to accidentally come in contact with a loose-lipped moron who cant help himself from asking you, Did the party go well Rafi? Did you get the chicken? Did you? DID YOU??? ANSWER ME RAFI! I KNOW YOURE PLANNING A SURPRISE LUNCH! I WANT YOUR SOUL!
For this you will need sodium pentathol.

As someone who almost actually pulled it off, I can tell you a lot about the dynamics of surprise-party mathematics. The first thing I can tell you is the fundamental equation of surprise-party mechanics, and it is this: L = mc2;

where m is the amount of mistakes you make, L is the number of lies you have to tell to her in order to cover it up, and c is the speed of light.

Now let me tell you what happened, as if you actually cared.
Since I was planning a surprise birthday lunch, I had to go shopping. As a male, I know nearly as much about shopping as the average wildebeest. Evolutionarily, my idea of shopping is to kill the first thing that moves with a club, plop it on the table and have her cook it. In the modern world, however, I have to make a list of food that she likes and buy that instead, all the time being acutely aware of the fact that she might not even like the first thing that I kill and plop on the table.

Regardless, I shopped that Thursday, and after 2 and a half hours of going up and down each aisle in excess of 27 times, I found everything except kosher chicken. You may ask, Rafi, why didnt you call the supermarket and ask them if they had Empire brand kosher chicken? I may answer, I did, you nincompoop, and they told me, Yes, we carry Empire brand products, and by products, I quickly found out that they meant pizza bagels, which Empire does indeed make. Unfortunately, pizza is not usually chicken, unless youre on LSD, and as stated before, I was only on PCP.

So I went to Brookline via a shuttle and a T and got 3 kosher chickens. On the way there, I met an innocent Brandeisian on the shuttle, and we got to talking. He asked me where I was going, so, thinking quite logically that since I had never seen this person in my life, the chances of me running into him again before Saturday were very slim indeed, I made my first mistake. I said, Im going into Brookline to buy some kosher chicken because Im planning a surprise lunch for my girlfriend. I, however, neglected to mention when I was planning this for.

Anyway, I came back another 3 hours later sweaty, exhausted, and smelling like the T. Then I had to go see her, and I had to lie about where I was. Were you doing something for me? she asked, blinking her eyes rapidly and looking all cute, curly-haired and lovely. Of course, my instinct was to say, Yes, now like me even more, you cute, curly-haired and lovely blinking female, but if I said that, everything would be completely ruined. So instead I said, No you crazy paranoid delusional female! I was at a drunken party with a bunch of dental school students from BU!

You can ask her. This is what I actually said, and I am NOT making this up.

After that, I had to do school work, which I hadnt been able to get at as per the shopping in two different cities that day. As a result, I got to bed at around 3:00am and slept for 4 hours. Now, I have a rule of thumb about sleeping, and that is that if I wake up and Im too tired to remember what my name is, I go back to sleep. I am usually very strict about this rule, but I had to cook all day, so I had to wake up. I couldnt remember my name for three straight days. All I knew was that I had to plan a surprise party.

So from 10:00am to 6:20pm Friday, I cooked, getting to Friday night Hillel dinner completely crazed and fatigued. After dinner, I stayed to help clean up, because thats what she does, and Im more whipped than Land-o-Lakes butter.

There we were, cleaning up in the Sherman Function Hall catering kitchen together, when all of a sudden, in walks this guy who seems to know who I am. I dont quite recognize him, but he seems familiar. Something tells me I have seen this person before, but I cant remember where I met him. Unfortunately, before I could remember and act, it was too late. Did you get the chicken? How did the party go?

It was the guy from the shuttle. Acting quickly and insanely, I charged at him like a raging moose and pushed him out of the kitchen. She just stood there and scratched her cute little head, wondering what in Gods name I was doing. But she knew. It was over.

Sure, she says she was surprised, but I dont believe her. At any rate, it doesnt really matter. I did it all for her, and it was worth it. After all, I think Im going to get lucky tonight.

Thats right. Tonight, I might get to sleep for 8 whole hours.